Said to be due to a reorganizing of the executive branch of government, the 5 advisory panels who counsel OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the Department of Labor on workplace safety and whistleblower protection have been shut down or put on hold. Even OSHA itself is significantly understaffed, said to only have enough inspectors to visit each job site once every 159 years.
The 5 committees, listed below, have not met in at least 9 months. Experts worry that the excuse of reorganizing the executive branch to increase efficiency is a cover for allowing businesses to avoid regulation that might hinder financial success. Further adding to their concerns is the number of committee members who have resigned or whose terms have expired without any attempt by the Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, to seek nominees or fill vacant positions. All of the committees’ membership positions will expire by the end of this year (if they haven’t already).
The 5 panels are:
- Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health
- Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (eliminated by Executive Order on March 13th)
- Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (all positions expired in February. No one has been chosen to replace them)
- National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (separate committee than #2)
- Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee
Major Workplace Safety Recommendations and Regulations Now Sidelined
Each of the 5 panels had important planning in place before they were effectively put on hold by the government. The website for the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health shows a significant amount of discussion and planning involving temporary workers and ways to ensure their safety on the job. The temporary workforce is growing, and along with that comes a higher rate of injury and death on the job. Many workers report not receiving full protective equipment or training, as well as jumping into performing tasks that are entirely new or for which they haven’t been properly trained.
Advising OSHA and helping to set safety standards is what each of these councils sets out to do. Except now they’ve been forced to sit on the sidelines, with most committees lacking enough members to even execute an official vote on any issue. These essential committees, now silenced, are unable to guide OSHA, an agency already significantly understaffed and unable to regularly visit worksites as is. Those who suffer are not the committees, nor OSHA. Instead, it’s the 160 million American employees who expect their workplace to be safe.
Levin & Perconti: Attorneys for Those Hurt on the Job
If you’ve been seriously injured on the job, your employer may be responsible for your injuries. Even though some jobs are inherently risky, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that no worksite or situation is hazardous to the health or safety of their employees. While the current administration may not take job safety seriously, the personal injury attorneys of Chicago’s Levin & Perconti do. For over 25 years, our attorneys have worked hard to fight employers whose lax safety standards have robbed workers of their health, safety, and livelihood.
Our workplace safety attorneys have recovered millions for those who have been injured and even killed on the job, including a $7.5 million record Jones Act verdict for a boat worker who sustained serious injuries after an explosion. Our consultations are always free and we are paid nothing unless we recover money for you or your loved one. Contact us now to see how we can help.